Learning With: ‘Inside the Pricey, Totally Legal World of College Consultants’

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Learning With: ‘Inside the Pricey, Totally Legal World of College Consultants’

3. Why have some colleges made standardized test scores optional for students applying for admission? How does this policy help to maintain a level playing field for students applying to college?

4. William Singer, a college admissions consultant, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. What were some of the ways he secured admissions for students? Which did you find most noteworthy or surprising?

5. How does Brian Taylor, managing director of Ivy Coach, distinguish the services his company provides to parents and students from the illegal actions of consultants like Mr. Singer? Do you think it is ethical for companies like Ivy Coach to charge a large fee for their services?

6. How profitable is the education consulting industry? What factors have led to its growth?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

— What is your reaction to the article? What details stand out to you? Do you think educational consultants are providing a valuable service or an unfair advantage?

— How important for you is getting into the “right” college? Do you feel pressure or anxiety related to the college admissions process? Why do you think some parents are willing to pay so much money to get their children into college?

— Has your family ever hired a private consultant or have you ever attended test preparation classes to help you get into a school? If yes, tell us about the experience. Would you consider using a private consultant if you believed it would improve your chances of getting into college? How much would you be willing to pay? Would you be willing to hire a consultant for your own children? How far would you go to get them into college?

— In “‘What Does It Take?’: Admissions Scandal Is a Harsh Lesson in Racial Disparities,” Jennifer McReynolds, an African-American parent whose son is a senior in high school and has applied to six universities, including Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, says:

Over and over we have told him that to be positively recognized, you have to have an incredible work ethic and you have to be above reproach. You often hear talk about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and that college admission is based on merit. What this story tells me is that the playing field is not level based on race and wealth.

What do you think of Ms. McReynolds’s comment? Do you think the college admissions process is fair? Or is it an uneven playing field? What message does this scandal send to high school students who intend to go to college?

— What are the lessons of the scandal? How can we reform the college application process?

Related Resources:

Learning Network Student Opinion: What Is Your Reaction to the College Admissions Cheating Scandal?

The 145-Pound Long Snapper and Other Tales of College Admissions Puffery